Tenisha Harris wanted to give her children a chance to meet live princesses. She got involved with different Princess Tea Party events — where girls dressed in their princess best get to meet and play with grown-up princesses, sometimes portrayed by actresses — held in communities around Madison, but always noticed that there were no princesses of color. After scoping around, she got tired of always seeing white princess. She got on Facebook and asked if people would be interested in setting up a Princess Tea Party event for only princesses of color. She got a lot of positive responses, and so set to work on this community-led event.
“I wanted my 3-year-old and 1-year-old to look at a princess and see similarities, and see that princesses of colors exist too.” Harris says. “It’s important that they have representation.” With this event, she hopes to empower children of color.
During the event, children will have an opportunity to meet and greet each princess. Don’t expect the standard Disney look, though.
“This isn’t driven by my love of Disney princesses, though that’s there, don’t get me wrong,” Harris says. “It’s about community and outreach. My Pocahontas is genuinely Native American and I told her to wear what she feels comfortable in and not offended by. My Mulan is Chinese and I gave her the same freedom.”
The Princess Tea Party will take place on Saturday, April 1 from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm at the Goodman Community Center. Tickets are currently sold out, but Harris says the success of this event has her thinking ahead.
Future events “may not be princess-themed,” Harris says, but will definitely focus on community, representation and empowerment.
This piece was produced by a student reporter in the Madison365 Academy. To learn more and support our education programs, visit Madison365.org/academy.